Catherine Carroll has resigned from her position as director of the University of Maryland’s Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct, she wrote in an email obtained by The Diamondback.
Carroll informed the Title IX Advisory Board of her decision in the email, which was sent on Wednesday. She wrote that she’ll be working in Fairfax County Public Schools, and she didn’t provide a reason for leaving.
“I sincerely appreciate having had the opportunity to work with … all of you and am not sure what this means for the future,” Carroll wrote in the email.
Mike Poterala, the university’s legal affairs vice president and general counsel, confirmed in a statement provided by a university spokesperson that Carroll would be leaving after “more than four years of dedicated service.”
In 2017, Carroll’s reporting line at the university changed from President Wallace Loh’s chief of staff to Poterala. Reports later surfaced that Carroll referred to this as a “demotion” in a conversation with then-SGA president AJ Pruitt.
“As the founding director of OCRSM, Catherine has helped the university make great strides in our commitment to creating a campus community free from sexual misconduct,” the statement read. “Under her leadership the university created new policies and trainings for sexual misconduct, launched the Rule of Thumb public awareness campaign, and rolled out a new annual report to ensure transparent, proactive communication with our community.”
Carroll played a foundational role for the office, particularly in helping to set its protocols. She also led hundreds of training sessions regarding sexual misconduct on the campus, and implemented two campus climate surveys on the matter.
“My team and I have made tremendous progress in my four and a half years here at the University of Maryland,” Carroll said in a statement. “I am proud of the work that we have done and what we accomplished during that time.”
Student Government Association President Jonathan Allen tweeted about Carroll stepping down on Tuesday evening.
Another important piece of information for the University of Maryland community: Both our Chief Diversity Officer and Title IX Officer have stepped down in the past two weeks. These positions are both vital to fostering a welcoming culture at the university.
— Jonathan Allen (@jonathanallen44) August 14, 2018
Allen told The Diamondback he wanted to put the word out because the university hadn’t announced Carroll had stepped down, which he said was “another failure by the administration to be transparent, despite the repeated statements claiming that they will act transparently.”
In 2016, Carroll publicly pushed for more resources for the office, which she said had been underfunded and understaffed since its creation two years earlier.
“I don’t want to be promoting our office out there as this resource when we’re not adequately staffed to respond to the need,” Carroll said in 2016.
Carroll’s comments were the reason behind the SGA’s call later that year for a $34 yearly student fee to bolster the office’s funds. That proposal resulted in the creation of six new positions — four in the OCRSM and two in the CARE to Stop Violence office. But the CARE positions were funded by grant money that was already on its way.
Carroll’s departure follows that of the office’s former lead investigator Josh Bronson, who left in 2017. Bronson, like Carroll, was one of the office’s original hires in 2014. He cited the stresses of working there as a reason he left.
“You’re interacting with people who are experiencing the worst day of their lives,” he said in September 2017. “That the university isn’t always being the most supportive of the work that you’re doing adds to that stress.”
This story has been updated.